“Over time I become suspect that she knows a lot more than she’s letting on,” Hélène Joy told TV eh! during a set visit earlier this year. “ She knows anatomy, she seems to be pulling in the environment, so Julia starts giving her books to read, and over time it becomes really obvious that she’s much more than she admits.”
In 24 Hours Til Doomsday, Rebecca James is dismissed from her position as morgue cleaner for removing evidence from the morgue. When her experiment provides proof of evidence, Dr. Ogden hires her back as morgue assistant. Rebecca attended a year at the New York Medical College for Women. When her patron died, his son was less inclined to support her schooling so she had to leave.
Rebecca is resuming her medical studies at the Ontario Medical College for Women while working at the morgue (ep. 907), her application to work at the City Morgue is officially granted at the end of Summer of '75.
She's smart, strong, determined, undaunted, and still there is a lot about her that's unknown. Why she chose to move to Toronto, Canada, is yet to be revealed.
In The Big Chill, while respectfully telling William and Julia that the morgue may not be the safest place for a baby, Rebecca reassures Dr. Ogden that being a mother suits her well. She uses her own mother's alcohol and vinegar recipe to cure George Crabtree's ear complaint in A Case of The Yips.
In her Sunday best, Rebecca handles her first crime scene at her church which has been a peaceful place for her. The incident has personal repercussions for her in Colour Blinded, when her new relationship with Nate Desmond challenges her professional integrity and job at the City Morgue after facing blatant prejudice at Leroux's. The Catholic Murdoch understands "that people can't tell that I'm a Catholic just by looking at me", and shares his tenet on prejudice: "Simply be better than anyone who might hate you."
Rebecca James' dream is to be a doctor, to work with people face to face; to help ordinary people, people who need her, people she will know for the rest of their lives.
Season 10 reveals the Becca-Nate relationship has deepened along with Rebecca's growing confidence, working outside the morgue and attending college. Quietly, going against Dr. Ogden and trusting her own instincts, Rebecca starts a little investigation of her own after a schoolmate at the Ontario Medical College for Women turns up dead in Jagged Little Pill. After an exciting week at the college, Dr. Stowe-Gullen tells Julia, "Your Miss James is quite a pistol." Julia believes Rebecca's coming into her own and hopes the morgue can contain her energy. In Bend It Like Brackenreid, Rebecca and Crabtree find blood evidence on a cabbage about to be used as a football. Later displaying some fancy foot work, she foreshadows the Canadian women's soccer team. While sprucing up the deceased Mr. Newsome, Dr. Ogden teases that she might moonlight as a mortician to which Rebecca confesses between college and the City Morgue, she does enough moonlighting in Weekend at Murdoch's. Rebecca is on a mission in The Missing to identity a poor lad found buried; her persistence pays off and helps Murdoch with the Gordon case. Combining her morgue job with her college work in Mr. Murdoch's Neighbourhood, Rebecca joins fellow students and constables in Dr. Ogden's field study. In a more personal Hades Hath No Fury, Inspector Brackenreid tells her that Nate is keeping a secret from her, jeopardizing the Becca-Nate relationship. While being quizzed by Dr. Ogden in Hot Wheels of Thunder as they roller-skate on the boardwalk, she is introduced to dancers Nina Bloom and Lydia Hall who help her create a team to compete against The Buffalo Queens. With coaching from Brackenreid and Miss Palmer, Rebecca with Dr. Ogden, Miss Hall and Miss Bloom make an unlikely winning team and, as often happens in team sports, an unique bond is made (perhaps, something to watch for down the line).
In Once Upon a Murdoch Christmas, Constable Jackson catches her singing in the morgue. Discovering that Miss James is a member of a choir and the tiles of the morgue helps, he asks for her help with the newly formed police choir of Station House No. 4 – "a top priority of the Inspector". She accepts with conditions.
In Up From Ashes, it is revealed that on the night of the ambush at the church Rebecca was working late at night in the City Morgue (since Dr. Odgen's kidnapping). She answered the knocking at the street door to find Detective Watts asking for her help. Rebecca operated on George, saving his life with the help of Det. Watts. To protect George and to give him cover, she signed his death certificate along with Constable Jackson's.
At the end of Merlot Mysteries, Rebecca announces that she is moving to Chatham, Ontario, with Nate Desmond. Dr. Rebecca James will start a medical practice where people need a doctor, to fulfill her dream. The team wishes her well and tells her that she is always welcome to return**.
In Chatham, Rebecca finally marries Nate Desmond and, as Dr. Desmond, her dream has come true and with that comes the challenges, dilemmas, choices and consequences of being a family doctor. So, when a patient in an untenable situation comes to her for medical help, Rebecca turned to her friend and mentor, Dr. Julia Ogden for guidance and support.
In Shadows Are Falling upon arriving back at Station House No. 4, Rebecca informs them that she is now Dr. Desmond. They in turn tell her that her husband, Nate, has been arrested for the murder of Charles Lewis – the abusive husband of her patient Isabel Lewis.
- Mouna Traoré auditioned for the show multiple times over the years and never got the parts. One of the last auditions that she had was for the Ragtime episode and her friend Tenika Davis ended up getting the role. She auditioned for this role and didn’t really expect it to be as big as it became.
- Carol Hay’s script calls for several light moments in Barenaked Ladies, including the usual stuff from Crabtree and a couple of zingers from Julia. Hay also wrote the episode Murdoch in Ragtime among her many writing credits as a long-time collaborator in the Murdoch Mysteries Writers' Room.
- When Greg David asked, "How did the addition of Mouna Traoré change-up things for you and the members of the writers’ room?" Peter Mitchell: "I think it was fun and we sort of eased her in a bit. We gave her increasingly more stuff to do. It’s interesting, because she really has to play against type, which is something that not many of our characters have to do. Mouna the person is a lot more outgoing and vivacious than Rebecca the character. It was tricky trying to find a balance. In the upcoming Season 10 she’ll become a more dynamic personality as her confidence increases."
- Merlot Mysteries is the farewell episode as Mouna Traoré leaves the show to pursue other projects, similar to Georgina Reilly's departure two years prior.
- When asked if Rebecca James will return for a visit, MM Writer Simon McNabb stated, "Absolutely. It’s something that we’ve talked about and whether or not she comes back this season remains to be seen."